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It seems that webcams are important after all

For quite a few years I’ve believed that webcams are an important tool in the arsenal of personal communications. I’ve also wondered openly when they would evolve beyond a relatively simplistic state. For example, it took a long time for a USB 3 connected webcam to arrive.

This morning my wife was researching webcams for some of her staff. While she has a long history in broadcast production, she’s currently a public relations and corporate communications professional. Her staff are fielding requests from TV stations seeking to do remote interviews using tools like Skype, Zoom, Webex, etc.

Logitech Streamcam frontal

Since they have existing desktops, they don’t have built-in webcams. She was looking for webcams to add to these existing computers. Off the top of my head I recommended Logitech’s latest, which is known as the StreamCam.

Introduced in February of this year, the StreamCam is a brand new product. Unlike the Brio 4K webcam, reviewed here a while back, it’s USB 3.1 Type-C connected, delivering 1080p60. It’s likely a better solution than Brio 4K for most people.

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Using four webcams on a single computer

The other day over the in the vMix User Group on Facebook Mark Schutte asked the following:

Is there a way to get VMIX to work with multiple USB webcams at the 720 or 1080 settings? I’ve been able to get up to four webcams to work only if they are set to lower resolutions. USB 3.1 and USB-C provide more than enough bandwidth but it always gives a USB bandwidth error message when the webcams are set to higher resolutions.

Mark Schutte

Given my long-running exploration of webcams, I felt that I was especially well positioned to address this question. After all, how many people have a collection of such items readily at hand? While I answered in the comment trail on facebook, I think the info is worth sharing here as well.

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Videomaker Reviews the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 Camera

Not long ago I openly admitted that I wear the rants in the family. This goes along those lines. It was inspired by the Chris Monlux’s review of the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 Camera published January 14th by Videomaker Magazine. I found this review to be deeply disappointing, and I’d like to tell you why.

First, take the time to read their review. I’ll wait. And you need the context.

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NDI-to-HDMI on the cheap?

There is no question that Newtek’s NDI is rocking the world of video production. Whether in corporate video, educational video, live streaming or low-end broadcast, it allows a transition to IP transport that’s profoundly attractive in many ways.

NDI delivers high quality video at very low latency, under one frame of video. A 1080p60 NDI stream requires at most around 150 mbps. This is ideal for production applications, which are quite separate from transmission/delivery, where lower bitrates are preferred and some seconds of delay is tolerable.

ClueCon NDI Feed on Monitor

In the early days of NDI, if you needed to view an NDI signal on a monitor that required a Windows PC running NDI Studio Monitor. This is an application that can pick the stream off the network and display it on a monitor. It has some nice features, like the ability to overlay a second stream (picture-in-picture) and show audio metering.

I used this approach at Cluecon 2018, with a very small PC purchased just for the task (pictured above.)

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